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nevisstudio 02-29-2004 09:51 PM

stripping the interior panels
hey all! we have been too busy to post recently, but we are back in the swing of things...

since all the A/S tasks we have at hand are HUGE UNDERTAKINGS, i want to start on something small and merely labor intensive (ha ha)

i want to take the interior panels back down to aluminum...

currently they have a few coats of paint over the initial original 1963 coating

what product should i use? and what process? any suggestions?

now would be a good time to do this. we are going to replace the floor in a few weeks so i would like to start this first.

i tried to see if there was an old thread, but i have not found any

thanks in advance


InsideOut 02-29-2004 10:22 PM

Kleen Strip Aircraft Stripper ought to do the trick! Nasty sure windows are open and you follow all the label instructions. There are probably milder strippers that would work also...but I would go for the sure thing. It's available at Walmart, Kragen Auto, Checker Auto, etc.

Good pictures!

Shari :)

ALANSD 03-01-2004 03:28 AM

Have you seen this thread? Lots of ideas there.
aluminum interior skin

swebster 03-01-2004 08:49 AM

nevisstudio - I've undertaken this project recently as well (See Alan's link for more details). While I ended up going with an aluminum "veneer" glued and riveted over the old vinyl clad aluminum I was able to strip a 1' x 2' section using different strippers.

My advice would be as follows:

1. Do this in an inconspicous area so if it doesn't work out you don't need to look at a big ugly spot.

2. Get a stripper with a long "dwell" time. This rules out most of the "fast acting" strippers at Home Depot of Lowe's as they evaporate before they can penetrate the vinyl and the paper backing. You end up stripping things in layers, first the vinyl, then the paper, then the glue - not pretty.

I've read some posts about a product called Napier 510 which sounds like it works well. A few people have even describe peeling off big chucks at a time using this product.

I was not so lucky and ended up with my approach. In any case - post your progress and some pictures. I know of one other AS TT owner who is undertaking this process right now so hopefully we can all learn from each other.

InsideOut 03-01-2004 08:53 AM


...before they can penetrate the vinyl and the paper backing. You end up stripping things in layers, first the vinyl, then the paper, then the glue - not pretty.
One difference is that there is Zolotone in a '63 not vinyl clad panels...the Zolotone should strip alot easier.

I believe "Flyfshr" has done this on his '59...hopefully, Brad will post some pointers here. If not, PM him...

Shari :)

swebster 03-01-2004 08:55 AM

An excellent point. Thanks Shari !

Windspill 03-01-2004 12:58 PM

Advice from one whose been there
I stripped the interior of our '65 down to bare metal. I found Citristrip to do the best with the least toxicity. I had to strip through a layer of paint and the zolotone. Seems to work best around 60+ degrees. Keep plenty of ventilation. Allow plenty of time for the stripper to work (sometimes a second coat before scraping helps) and scrape with a plastic putty knife. (The edge of the putty knife will become rough, but, you can run it over fine sandpaper to restore it.) If the zolatone doesn't all come off the first time you may have to apply a second coat of stripper. When done, wipe down with plenty of mineral spirits - don't let the stripper dry. The interior front of the '65 was fiberglass and I used the same method. You will find that there will be a residue of zolotone in some areas and perhaps a little pitting on the metal. On the fiberglass, I removed the residue with a 3M compounding material (by hand) and then finished with a fiberglass polish. You may need a 3M "red" pad to remove the residue and blemishes from the aluminum - best to rub in one direction for uniformity of look. This will then need to be buffed out, as it lightly scratches the surface. That is the point I am at now (I just replaced all the interior rivets and shaved them for a better look). I haven't decided whether I am going to just leave the brushed metal look or polish it to a dull shine - I think a high shine might be too much. Good luck and allow plenty of time - the overhead work is tough!
PS: The PO had also painted all the mahogany. Soooo... we've also been stripping and refinishing that, too, while we have it out. Citristrip works good there, too.

nevisstudio 03-02-2004 09:19 AM

Thanks everyone!

what is great is that the inside is completely gutted so i can make a mess and I have plenty of space to work...

i am planning on giving it a try on sunday

can you buy those products anywhere?


InsideOut 03-02-2004 09:27 AM

Citristrip & Mineral Spirits are available at Home Depot. Aircraft Stripper at Pep Boys, Kragen, Auto Zone-type stores I think even Wal-Mart.

Good luck!

Shari :)

Windspill 03-02-2004 10:06 AM

Aircraft Stripper
I tried the Aircraft stripper and found it to be extremely toxic. I would especially recommend not using it inside the trailer where your ventilation is reduced. Additionally, I didn't think it worked much better than Citristrip on the zolatone.

Over59 03-02-2004 10:51 AM

Please check instructions on these products. When they say positive flow respirator what they mean is the stuff is very dangerous. This must be respected for you lungs well being. I wouldn't use any of this stuff without a respirator and I don't mean mask filter. An don't get it on your skin either.

Airwave503 06-03-2015 07:01 PM

You can check out what I did here if you have Zolatone. It would have been a lot harder for me if I didn't have the panels out and laid flat. Seriously consider replacement as it's probably cheaper and easier. I replaced all my lower panels as they were rotted out along the bottoms.

61' Airstream Safari Rescue & Rebuild: Removing Zolatone

Good luck!

reinergirl 06-03-2015 07:40 PM

Here's how I removed all the paint on my 1963. Post 66 here

I highly recommend the plastic holder and plastic razorblades. They are great at removing old sealant too!

tarh2o 06-05-2015 08:30 AM

So if I were to undertake the removal of the interior skin on my '75 that would be vinyl correct?

Kevin245 06-05-2015 08:39 AM

stripping the interior panels

Originally Posted by tarh2o (Post 1632601)
So if I were to undertake the removal of the interior skin on my '75 that would be vinyl correct?

The interior skin is typically vinyl clad aluminum for that era.

Toolmanbt 08-21-2015 05:47 PM

Can you strip the vinyl off the aluminum , is that possible ? Anyone ever try ?

Toolmanbt 08-21-2015 05:49 PM

If it's vinyl clad ?

Toolmanbt 08-21-2015 08:20 PM

I'm thinking of doing the same thing also. Striping the vinyl clad. 1978 TradeWind 25'

HiJoeSilver 08-21-2015 09:07 PM

Definitely possible , been done by many. Google vinyl removal airforums, it'll give you a bunch of threads.

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